The Northwest Herald editorial board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down:
Thumbs up: To working toward going green. The Illinois Railway Museum wants to build a 5-acre renewable solar farm that would reduce its electrical costs and use the sunlight to completely power its demonstration railroad. If built, it would reduce the museum’s electricity costs by at least $65,000. Officials have started a fundraising drive to help meet the $1.2 million to cover the local costs of the $3.5 million it would cost for the proposed solar farm. We wish the museum luck in its endeavor.
Thumbs down: To McHenry County’s jobless rate. Data released by the state this week showed McHenry County’s unemployment rate went up year over year in March, from 9.1 percent to 9.3 percent. Unemployment rates in Crystal Lake, Algonquin and Lake in the Hills also went up compared with a year ago. The news was better in McHenry, where the unemployment rate dipped slightly. Overall, however, March’s countywide unemployment rate was lower than February’s rate of 10.2 percent. Still, the number of people without work is too high.
Thumbs up: To sandbag volunteers. The area’s recent flooding affected many local homeowners located near waterways. In Nunda Township, however, strangers worked together to help neighbors fight off rising waters. It represented teamwork, community and a group of people not afraid to take on a bit of hard labor to help out those who urgently needed assistance to keep water from filling their homes.
Thumbs down: To DePaul theater professor Rachel Shtier for her shrill screed against the city of Chicago on the cover of the New York Times Book Review on Sunday. Shtier’s rant against the city where’s she’s lived – miserably apparently – for the past 13 years was disguised as a review of three different books about Chicago. Chicago certainly has its problems, which are well-documented, but it’s also a proud, world-class city undeserving of Shtier’s snarky piece that came across as nothing more than New York snobbery toward a Midwestern town that she’s too dreary to appreciate.